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Ladakh Camp - An Exquisite Himalayan and Wildlife Experience


The Ladakh Tour –  Snow Leopard, Photography & Birds

Report By: Deepak Kumar
Naturalist and Guide  at Asian Adventures

Day 1:- Birding in Leh
Temperature -10 degrees
Date 27th Feb 2017

After A day of rest and getting acclimatization with the aid of my Dimox tablets, which made it easier to cope with the high altitude, the following day after a good night’s rest we began our tour after breakfast. We scanned the nearby areas of Leh and spotted many (water birds) Wall creeper, Ibis Bill, brown dipper, Mallard, Winter wren, Solitary snipe, Common Pochard, Ruddy shelduck.

In the nearby dry grounds, rocky hills the following were sighted Robin Accentor, Brown Accentor, Red fronted Serrain, long leg buzzard, and upland buzzard.

The next day was scheduled to visit the Hemis National Park to see the Snow leopard (Panthera uncia). With its secretive nature and rocky habitat, a perfect camouflage makes sightings of the snow leopard difficult.  Like most Big Cats the snow leopard is most active during the early hours of the day and the evenings so we planned to start early the following morning.

Day 2:- Hemis National Park
Date 28th February 2017
Temperature -11 degrees

After breakfast, we head out to the Rumbak Valley, scanning for the snow leopard. On route, we spotted birds of the region such as the Chukkar, Himalayan snow cock, Golden Eagle, and Lammergier. After an entire day driving past snow-clad mountains, scanning for the Snow leopard, we spotted a Mountain Hare, the Pikka a small mountain rodent. It was not until later in the afternoon when we finally sighted the Snow leopard. Excited to see the beast we followed it for a while until it was time to head back to camp.

Day 3:- Rumpak Valley Leh
Date 1st March 2017

Thrilled and excited to have spotted the Snow leopard the previous day, we started early at 6:30 am from our mountain camp. After almost an hour of scanning, we spotted the Snow Leopard at 7:30 am, we followed it around for hours and realized it was on a hunt. The Snow Leopard mainly preys on the Bharal (Himalayan blue sheep) We were ecstatic to have the opportunity to watch the big cat as it set its eyes on a herd of Blue Sheep. Our distance from the cat was about 700 mts, we waited and watched as it attempted to make a kill on the herd. Luck favored the herd as they fled at great speed. Our Group followed the Snow leopard till late in the afternoon, finally around 4:30 pm when it became evident that we could follow no further, we turned back and headed for our mountain camp.

Day 4:- Rumpak Village
Date 2nd March 2017

We got news early morning, of the snow leopard being sighted near the Rumpak Village. The Rumbak village consists of 9 family homes mostly locals (Tibetan Refugees). The villagers run cozy home stays for tourists visiting the area. The villages are filled with Tibetan prayer flags, and the kitchens are where the families gather around. These Ladakhi homestays serve Tibetan dumplings and noodle soup thukpa, barley porridge tsampa, and delicious homemade jams. We continued scanning the mountains for the Snow leopard. Spotted a golden eagle soaring above us. After hours of scanning the craggy mountains, we spotted the snow leopard at a close distance of approximately 300. The close sighting was a great opportunity for fellow photographers as they took stunning shots. Birds sighted in the region were the Great Rosefinch and the Streaked Rosefinch, Hill Pigeon, and White Browed Tit Warbler.

Day 5:- Rumbak Valley
Date 3rd March 2017

After breakfast, we left for the Rumbak Valley for wildlife and bird photography. We arrived at a frozen waterfall, the landscapes were just out of this world. The species of birds we spotted were the Brandts mountain finch, Plain mountain finch,  Chukkar, Snow partridge, Solitary snipe, Tibetan snow finch, Himalayan snow cock. It was not till late afternoon when we finally sighted the solitary beast, we followed it for a while before we returned to camp.

Day 6:- Leh
Date 4th March 2017

Post Breakfast we returned to Leh, on route we spotted the Black Magpie, Solitary Snipe, White Winged redstart, Wal creeper, black-throated thrush, golden eagle, brown dipper, and Himalayan Griffon. Arriving in Leh we checked into the Hotel and had lunch. Later in the afternoon, we visited the Thiksey Monastery. Considered the most beautiful Monastery it hosts many devotees and visitors. The last night we spent at the hotel in Leh.


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